God’s Law: More Intricate Than American Tax Law

What You’ve Missed…
* There’s a lot, and it’s intense.  So buckle up.
* More plagues, and more of Pharaoh’s commitment issues.
* God kills off the firstborn son of every Egyptian family.
* The Israelites escape from Egypt via a newly-parted Red Sea which comes crashing down on the Egyptian army.  Major wipeout dudes.
God leads His people through the wilderness, providing all the nourishment they need.  This includes ‘Nilla Wafers from heaven and clean water that shoots out from a rock.
* God appears to the Israelites as fire, from a cloud, with lightning and thunder, while a ram’s horn blows, during an earthquake.  (Basically it’s like The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios I saw as a kid, only…with less Indiana Jones and more of God’s vast power and holiness.)
* The Israelites are attacked and victorious in battle because Moses keeps his hands lifted in the air for an entire day during the fighting.  (Yup, sounds weird to me too.  Also, I’m glad my country doesn’t ask me to fight for them like that.  I can barely get through the YMCA dance without getting a little winded.)
* Moses and a bunch of other guys sit and eat with God on the top of Mount Sinai.  (The author makes a distinct note, with a hint of surprise, that these men were not instantly destroyed as they were allowed to see God face to face.)  I can only wonder what dessert was like.Days 38 and 39
Daily Readings: Exodus 20-24

Seeing as tax season isn’t too far away, and that we’re now in a presidential election year, it’s a pretty good bet you’re going to hear people talking a lot about our tax code, and how whacked out it is  Actually, people talk about this ALL the time, because, well, because, it’s ridiculous.  But before everyone gets their undies in a twist about American tax laws, I’d like to quickly point out it may not be as intricate, nor as obscure, as some of the rules God was handing out to the Hebrews.

God goes over the Ten Commandments with Moses, and it’s all pretty basic stuff.  Don’t steal.  Don’t murder.  Basically, don’t be a jerk, and remember that God is God.  But then He goes ahead and adds some fine print.  Extremely fine print.  Here now are a few of the other rules God laid down along with the Ten Commandments that, even if they were allowed to be displayed outside a public courthouse today, wouldn’t.

* If a man who has married a slave wife takes another wife for himself, he must not neglect the rights of the first wife to food, clothing, and sexual intimacy.  (Exodus 21:10)
* Anyone who dishonors their father or mother must be put to death.  (Exodus 21:17)
* If a man beats his male or female slave…and the slave recovers within a day or two, the owner shall not be punished, since it is his property.  (Exodus 21:20-21)
* When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.  (Exodus 21:8)
* You must give me your firstborn sons.  (Exodus 22:29)
* You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.  (Exodus 23:19)
* You must not allow a sorceress to live.  (Exodus 22:18)

And my personal favorite…
* Now suppose two men are fighting, and in the process they accidentally strike a pregnant woman so she gives birth prematurely.  If no further injury results, the man who struck the woman must pay the amount of compensation the woman’s husband demands and the judges approve.  (Exodus 21:22)

Why is this last one even necessary?  What kinds of lives did these people have that this was a problem?  Was the typical Israelite family living like most people who show up on COPS?  “Uh, yeah officer.  We was just wrestlin’ because Timmy wanted me to get him a beer, and I told ‘em to get his own dern self a beer and so he gone and socked me one on the chin for havin’ an attitude pro’lem.  So’s I went and hit ‘em back.  We tussled ‘round in front of the tv some, and then my old lady walked in and caught one in the jaw and dangit if I’m not a monkey’s uncle and she went into labor right then and there.  And now we’s gots twins!  Oh, no sir.  That’s not drug paraphernalia on the table.  That stuffs fer my asthma.”

There’s a lot more of these kinds of crazy laws.  Mostly centering around farm animals, money lending and court cases.  Yup, I think that solidifies it in my book.  Life with the Hebrews was much more like COPS than any of the Sunday school cartoons about Bible life I ever saw growing up.

I guess between the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah, God realized we needed just a little bit more guidance in how to not be total idiots.  Though, hopefully we’ve progressed somewhat since the time of Moses.

Then again, Jerry Springer exists.

4 thoughts on “God’s Law: More Intricate Than American Tax Law

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